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Cablegate: Bahrain's King Hamad On Syria, Lebanon and The

VZCZCXRO8203
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHMK #0099 0451353
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 141353Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY MANAMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7601
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE

S E C R E T MANAMA 000099

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR GRAY, FELTMAN
NSC FOR SINGH, ABRAHMS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/14/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER SY SA LE QA BA
SUBJECT: BAHRAIN'S KING HAMAD ON SYRIA, LEBANON AND THE
PALESTINIANS

Classified by Ambassador Adam Ereli for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (S) Summary: Bahrain's King Hamad told the Ambassador that Syria was working to have anyone but Siniora represent Lebanon at the Arab League Summit; Qatar was proposing Bouez as a compromise choice for President, and Abu Mazen bemoaned Arab in-fighting. End Summary.

2. (S) During an hour-long audience with the Ambassador on February 13, King Hamad discussed at length a visit he received the previous day from Saudi Arabia's intel chief, Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz al Saud. Muqrin had come to brief the Bahrainis on recent developments between Syria and Lebanon, and to encourage Bahrain's continued support of the Arab League initiative.

3. (S) King Hamad said the Syrians were making a concerted effort to prevent Prime Minister Siniora from representing Lebanon at the Arab League Summit. Their aim was to have Nabih Berri fill that role, and they were working to engineer such an outcome. Both the King and Muqrin agreed that this was a non-starter and that any attempt to undercut Siniora's authority or legitimacy must be resisted.

4. (S) The Saudis were particularly angry over Qatari mediation efforts in Lebanon. According to Muqrin, the Government of Qatar was advocating Faris Bouez as a compromise candidate with the Syrians and Lebanese in order to resolve the political impasse over Sleiman's selection as President. Muqrin fumed that this was against all previous agreements. King Hamad said that he had called the Amir of Qatar, who replied that this was an issue between Syria and Saudi Arabia, rather than Saudi Arabia and Qatar. King Hamad rejoined that, to the contrary, it was an issue between Syria and the Arab world.

5. (S) King Hamad concluded that Bahrain would support the Arab League and that it would continue to advocate respect for all UN Security Council resolutions and the International Tribunal as the only way of pressuring Syria to do the right thing.

6. (S) The King also discussed the Feburary 12 visit of Abu Mazen to Bahrain. He said that Abu Mazen knew that President Bush was doing his best to create a Palestinian state, but that the problem "was among us." The Arabs were fighting among themselves and Abu Mazen appeared to be closer to the Israelis than he was to some of his Arab brethren. King Hamad said he asked Abu Mazen what were the aims of Hamas. The Palestinian President replied that he believed Hamas sought to establish an Islamic emirate in Gaza and from there move to strengthen the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The breach of the Gaza/Egypt border was a graphic reminder that Gazans have turned their gaze westward, in Abu Mazen's view. ********************************************* ******** Visit Embassy Manama's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX********************************************* ******** ERELI

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